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Laura Santos, on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, 2008.

The Happiness Lab

Laurie Santos is basically the Yale-prof version of Malcolm Gladwell—a few years ago, while researching why our brains trick us into believing that the things we believe will make us happy (more money; Instagram followers; seeing the New England Patriots have a losing season) are not always what will make us content, she started a class that became the university’s most attended ever. After expanding it into a Coursera lecture (more than 400,000 people have enrolled online), she’s now launched The Happiness Lab, which reports on the stories of people like Billie Bob Harrell Jr., who won a gigantic lottery but then saw his life fall apart. What Harrell and others learned from their experiences is the real payoff. All of the shows deliver a serviceable mix of science, psychology, and insight that gives the listener plenty of actionable intel. (



Something clearly amazing is happening in the French engineering world. First, Franky Zapata concocts his Buck Rogersesque, Channel-crossing hoverboard. Now, we have the SeaBubble—an all-electric, silent, hydrofoil water taxi. Its developers, who are currently testing it on the Seine, pitch the craft as a way for cities around the world to make use of their waterways (thereby taking cars off the road), while not adding pollution or noise. Pending tests, the company hopes to have it in 50 cities within five years. (


Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo

It’s been a great year for Linden Pride, co-owner of New York City’s Dante, which was named best bar in the world this spring at the Spirited Awards. “I went to Sicily at the end of summer. Sitting out on the deck of the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, in Taormina, framed by a magical sunset, Mount Etna, and the Ionian Sea, you would be hard-pressed to find a better spot for the ‘golden hour’ of aperitivo. I think we could all agree everything just seems to taste better in Sicily, but there was something especially transcending the first time I tried Alfio Liotta’s signature Chierichetto Negroni. A perfect balance of artichoke bitters, with the round aromatic subtlety of Cocchi vermouth. Simple, delicious, and among the best accompaniments to one of the most spectacular views in the world.” (



The most unbelievable thing about this Netflix series is that men become as hooked on it as women do—even though the good guys are all women and the show portrays most of the men as ignorant, sexist, bumbling, or all of the above. Based on true events, Unbelievable recounts the story of a troubled young woman in Lynnwood, Washington, who reports a rape in 2008, only to find the police don’t believe her. Years later, two female detectives (played by Merritt Wever and Toni Collette) investigating cases in Colorado, more than 1,000 miles away, prove her right. (

Issue No. 12
October 5, 2019
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Issue No. 12
October 5, 2019